As most of you know, me and the Boo moved here from the Chicago area. We had a very well thought out plan when we decided to purchase a Bed and Breakfast. It was by no means a rash decision. Having said that, when the opportunity to purchase our old girl in Gardiner arose we jumped on it. We didn’t put much thought at first into what we were going to do with our condo in Arlington Heights. Through all of 2016 it sat empty except for a few plants we left that a friend was nice enough to water for a while. I still have one of those plants, the rest passed away but this one was a trooper. It looks a bit rough now because I am not very good with plants, but I expect it to bounce back at some point.
We drove out to Chicago in November of 2016 with every intention of selling our place for a loss. We were not, however, prepared to hear exactly how much of a loss we would have to take and so we decided to fix it up and rent it out. We ended up with a very nice tenant for two years until the place was no longer under water so to speak. At that point we couldn’t keep our tenant (stupid by-laws) and we had to think about selling. It was on the market for about 2 months and this last Friday we finally officially sold it!
While I am happy that we no longer have our condo (which we never went back to after that November in 2016) I’m also a little sad. For a few reasons. I love Chicago. I always will. That was our last connection to that area, as neither of us has family there. (But we do have friends still there). When I married the Boo, I moved to Illinois from the Milwaukee area. That was in 2011. While that area has never been my “official” hometown, I came to view it as such. I never felt like I fit in where I grew up. I don’t go out of my way to find old classmates, and were it not for my family I would never go back to the Milwaukee area at all. I am not fond of taking strolls down memory lane. It’s nothing with Milwaukee I just think that where you’re born and raised isn’t necessarily where you are meant to be. (Having said all that, I am so happy to see the Bucks having a great season).
I remember when the Boo bought our condo. When we met he was living in Uptown near Wrigley Field (This, my friends, is why I thought the Boo was so cool in the first place). After dating for maybe a month or so he bought out in the suburbs to be closer to his job. I was the lucky sucker that got to help him move in high Summer. It was hot as hell, and as anyone from the mid-west knows it was NOT a dry heat. It was the first time I ever saw his crabby side. And he was a definite crab ass. But we got him moved and I was happy because I wouldn’t have to drive in the city anymore. As it happens while I love Chicago, I can do without all the traffic.
When we were dating we had a routine. Every other weekend I would go down to the AH to see him and every other weekend he would come up to Milwaukee to see me. I always had a day off midweek, so I would drive down there during the week as well. (I actually started to enjoy the drive, if only because I could listen to music uninterrupted for an hour or so). Even before we were married I considered the AH my second home. Within roughly a year we were married and I moved in with my two cats.
Most of my memories of our condo and my time in the AH are good ones. We ate out all the damn time-something we do not do here. And we ate good. Even the bad food was good. Anyone in the general area of AH should at least try Wappaghettis pizza. So horrible, but so good. And I can never say enough about Lou Malnatis pizza. We still get pizza from there, almost always it is sent to us from my Auntie Pam. This is why we love her. One of the first places we ever ate at in the AH was a Greek syndicate called the Continental. It wasn’t actually owned by Greek people I’m just not sure what else to call this type of restaurant. But that is where we coined the phrase “mediocre at best.” And yet we ate there all the time. BTW folks, Arlington Heights has an outstanding downtown area. There are many great restaurants, including Salsa 17, which is one of my favorites. The downtown area also has a really nice theatre. We used to go there quite a bit. And they put on a terrifying version of a Christmas Carol if you can believe that.
As I was writing this and looking for a nice picture, I came across this pic. We used to do gimmick road rallyes. These were so much fun. And the guys who planned them out were geniuses. We met at the parking lot of Woodfield mall and were given a set of directions. But there were gimmicks in them. So maybe a direction would be to turn left at the T in the road, but the instructions were very clear that in no circumstance were you to go any way but right. Or something like that. If you followed the directions word for word, you still got to where you were supposed to end up, but you would have taken an entirely different route and answered all the questions incorrectly. And thus, you would lose, as we did most times. One year they did an amazing race themed race that went all afternoon. We had to stop at specific locations and do goofy tasks. All in all not a bad way to spend a Friday night, or a Sunday afternoon. They also had races designed around Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations.
Upon yet further reflection, and because I was looking through old photos, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our cat Picasso. As I stated earlier I brought two cats with me when me and the Boo married. Salvador lived long enough to make the move to Montana with us, but my other boy, Picasso died in 2013. I had never lost anything more than a pocket pet before this, and to say I was devastated would be an understatement. We had to take him to the emergency vet at around 11:00 PM one night and we spent about two hours, and one phone call crying to my mom before we made the inevitable decision to put my boy to sleep. Since we moved out here we lost three of our four cats, all to old age. None was as hard as losing Picasso. I took this picture of our three oldies a day or two after Picasso died. It will always be one of my favorites of them.
When we first moved here I actually thought it would be awesome to spend part of the year here and part of the year in the Chicago area. But after a while I started making friends (not an easy thing for me) and I discovered a community that I loved just enough to not want to leave. Plus we adopted Lou and and he would have nothing to do with living amongst too many people. So we never did pursue that route. And now we are just down to our old gal here in the 406. I hope that the guy who bought our place makes great memories of his own. It’s a nice complex in a nice neighborhood.
As I reflect on all my memories from when we lived in Arlington Heights, and I think about the home we have now, one thought comes to mind:
Arlington Heights is where I found my happiness and Gardiner is where I found my home.